oyceter: Joan and Sherlock looking at tablet (elementary)
[personal profile] oyceter
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Elementary 1x19 Snow Angels

I watched this several weeks ago, so now I don't remember much. I like that it was less murderful than most Elementary episodes, in that the bulk of the episode is about the heist. Also, as pretty much everyone has noted, Pam is fun, and Clyde is back!

I liked Ms. Hudson very much, particularly her book reorganization strategy (I like all people who have a strategy for book reorganization), and I liked that it wasn't a Special Trans Episode. That said, I am cis and could very well have missed something.

And yay Marcus going off detecting and using a lightbulb to detect wig hair!

Elementary 1x20 Dead Man's Switch

I was not too pleased with the fat shaming and the rape narrative in this episode. The fat shaming was particularly bad, from the man using his weight to make false accusations against various companies for easy money to the discovery of his naked corpse. First, the corpse was kind of grisly for the show's overall tone, and it seemed like it was chosen in some ways to further remark on Bloom's weight.

I was also kind of disappointed with the rape narrative, which centers the pain around the fathers of the women who were raped, as opposed to the women themselves. Though at least it isn't a "stranger in the bushes" type rape, it did still seem to be stranger rape, and I very much would like more TV shows to acknowledge that most people are raped by people they know. Alas.

Things I liked: the further confirmation that Sherlock, despite his abrasiveness, wants to help people, and I loved the little scene between him and Gregson. I also like that Gregson won't blatantly cover stuff up, because he has his own job, but he will at least let Sherlock know that the blackmailer's body was found. And the small affirmation that Gregson is a man whose opinion Sherlock respects was another nice note.

Alfredo! Hello! I'm a little torn about his bit to Sherlock about sometimes doing things for the community instead of for yourself, since I think everyone fights addiction their own way and shouldn't have to do things just to be an example for other people. On the other hand, as pretty much everyone has noticed, Sherlock is pretty damn self absorbed and frequently places himself in a category that is different from "everyone else." The disparity between his opinion of his lofty genius and his empathy for many of the victims (esp. in this episode) is interesting, and I like that Alfredo's comment really makes Sherlock think about his fellow recovering addicts and empathize with them in a way that he has been able to do with victims of other cases.

I also love that Alfredo and Joan don't push Sherlock to talk; they hold out a hand, note Sherlock's resistance and maybe argue a little, and then after stating their piece, they don't push it. And Sherlock's eventual conversation with Joan was great, from his admitting that he had in fact ordered the sobriety chips to passive aggressively get her to raise the topic again to how much those 24 hours had meant to him to how he felt he owed it to Joan to tell her first.

And yay to Joan foiling Sherlock's attempts at sensory deprivation. The bulk of the detecting is still on Sherlock on most of the episodes, but I like how the writers consistently have Joan contribute things on each case.

Elementary 1x21 A Landmark Story

Hi creepy Salieri! That was great casting.

I love that Joan refuses to let Sherlock pressure her into doing the autopsy, and that she chooses to do it in the end because she cannot stand his incompetence at it. (AV Club's review says Sherlock tricked her into it, but that wasn't how I had read it.) And her scrubbing her hands and arms later and then moisturizing them after (all the way to the elbow!) was a nice reminder of her former profession as well as the pilot episode. I guess she still keeps the beeswax around!

I was kind of disappointed that John Douglas did not turn out to be Moriarty. I'm not entirely sure what I would have thought of it... on the one hand, POC as villain, not new. On the other hand, black man as extremely famous villain Moriarty who is one of the few people who can outsmart Sherlock, fairly outside of the usual stereotypes about black men. Alas, it was not to be.

The message to Moran was nicely creepy.

I love how very delighted Sherlock was at the assassin bees.

OMG that park bench conversation. OMG. It's not quite as long as his proposal of partnership in Details, but it's got the same level of vulnerability, and just... gaaaaah. Joan and Sherlock hit on so many of the same buttons Mulder and Scully used to hit for me. I love Joan's little smile and her acknowledgement of the compliment, and Sherlock's revelation of just how difficult it had been for him to think of her leaving. It kind of makes how very careful he was to get on a path of recovery and not pressure her in Details even more awesome.

Not to de-emphasize the bond Sherlock and Joan have, but Sherlock's wrong about Joan being the only difference. She's the main one for sure, but he's also starting to make meaningful connections with Alfredo and Gregson and maybe even Bell. And much as I love the two-people-in-it-against-all-things vibe, I also love that a) the show doesn't use that to make Joan responsible for Sherlock's mental well-being and b) it avoids one-itis and validates the importance of other relationships and friendships and the network of emotional connections that make up people's lives.

Elementary 1x22 Risk Management

Whoo, Joan ultimately solves the case!

The parallels between the case of the week and Sherlock's obsession with Irene's killer were great and emphasize how far Sherlock has come even from the middle of the season, when he goes after Moran by himself. Loved the increasing agitation and Sherlock's inability to stay away from the case on several levels, from his empathy for Daren Sutter to his drive to find out more. I'm wondering if his lines about not ever being at peace until he could strangle his sister's killer with his own hands are meant as foreshadowing for Sherlock, not just a call back to M. (Speaking of which, I really liked Gregson saying he sympathized with the father killing the blackmailer in Dead Man's Switch, Sherlock questioning him, and Gregson clarifying that understanding is not condoning. I think large swathes of fandom and people in general fail to see the difference.)

The AV Club review seems to think the final shot of Irene is actually Sherlock's hallucination, but I am fairly convinced that she is not fridged. I also like that she has a profession that seems to be a fairly big part of her. And I'm glad there weren't really undertones of jealousy from when Sherlock finally talks about what she's like with Joan.

Obviously this case is All About Sherlock, but I am actually brimming with "ILU, Joan Watson, ILU!" I love that Gregson acknowledges that she's becoming a pretty good investigator in her own right, and that it's Gregson she calls out for sexism. I think often you get a straw man sexist who is so over the top that no one agrees with him (a la Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast), so people can easily think about sexists as those mean people over there. Gregson, on the other hand, is someone we know and like, and it's a nice example of how these things can be so pervasive and pop up everywhere.

I also love that while Joan is annoyed by Gregson's protectiveness, she also doesn't do the spunky heroine thing of completely writing it off and running off to do something risky. She looks legitimately worried and more than a little afraid when she confronts Sherlock about it later. And then! After having thought about it, she foils Sherlock in his attempt to protect her and tells him that this is her case too, and she deserves to see how it concludes for herself. ♥♥♥♥Joan♥♥♥♥

It is so nice that I feel like I can count on the show and the writers to not make Joan the damsel in distress for the season finale.

On a minor note, I like that the show has quietly shown that Sherlock was totally wrong in some of his Joan hypotheses from the pilot: he very consistently is the one waking up Joan, who just wants to burrow back in the covers and go back to sleep no matter what her profession is.

I hope Ms. Hudson shows up again for the finale!

(no subject)

Wed, May. 22nd, 2013 10:27 pm (UTC)
crossedwires: joan watson drinking tea (joan watson/tea)
Posted by [personal profile] crossedwires
Re the autopsy -- I read that scene as Sherlock feigning incompetence so that Joan would take over, but I like the other reading of it too, that Sherlock is just bad at autopsies and/or Joan is better.

I also love that Joan takes other people's worries into consideration -- she did the same after her therapist pointed out the danger too -- and weighs the risks, talks it over with Sherlock, and decides this is still what she wants to do. And I like that the show doesn't punish her for it, or attempt to manufacture tension by putting her in danger (for Sherlock to save).

Elementary: the story of Joan Watson just trying to get some sleep and her roommate/personal valet who keeps waking her up to solve cases.

Oh, and Ms Hudson -- the one thing that gave me pause was Sherlock and Joan's conversation about her being a trans woman. I'm cis, too, but it seemed cissexist, to me? I mean, I get that they were attempting to establish that Ms Hudson is a trans woman, but it seemed unnecessary and, IDK, they could've done it another way, with Ms Hudson being present and/or explaining to the audience herself?
Edited Wed, May. 22nd, 2013 10:31 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Thu, May. 23rd, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
crossedwires: toph punches katara to show her affection (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] crossedwires
Yeah. I still think it was unnecessary within the show to point out that she's a trans woman. Not because I want the show to ignore it, but because it seemed like the show was asking for diversity cookies, rather than an organic way to reveal stuff about Ms Hudson.

And it's not that cis characters can't/shouldn't be cissexist, but I think it matters how its framed. I tend to think they're less likely to go wrong if it's from the POV of Ms Hudson, instead of Joan, Sherlock or other cis characters, if for no other reason than it gives Ms Hudson screentime and lets her react to cissexism, preferably without the show disproving its existence or discrediting her reaction. And hopefully the writers listen to Candis Cayne -- not that she is responsible for how her character is written (much less how other characters react to Ms Hudson), just that if something feels off to her, I would hope the writers take that into consideration.

And, yes, to them delivering on these characters they've set up!

(no subject)

Thu, May. 23rd, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC)
willow: Fork symbol from public sign. Text: Got Forks? (Racism: Got Forks?)
Posted by [personal profile] willow
If it's not pointed out that that Ms. Hudson is trans, she becomes invisible. The mere mention that she is, followed by her revealing she learned to build a fire in Boyscouts (something I missed, actually as being male central (I just heard 'Scouts'), until I read another review), has both an acknowledgement that she's trans and thus visibility and her revealing personal information about herself on her own terms.

I disagree strongly that Ms.Hudson should have had an 'opportunity to 'react' to cissexism'. That's like saying in order for a gay character to be gay, they have to have an opportunity to react to homophobia. Or in order to prove, say, a light skinned person is black or multiracial - they have to 'react to racism'.

It was a subtle; there's something different. A quiet 'yes'. And then it's never mentioned again, because the difference is pointed out for the sake of acknowledging who she is, not making her an example or a token.

Whether or not you think it's 'diversity cookies' - actually the fact that you even use that phrase, pisses me the hell off. Because so much about Elementary HAS been diverse; in terms of women in positions of power or traditionally male occupations, PoC in all sorts of areas; doctors to grounds keepers to background characters on the street (so many shows about NYC have it amazingly whitebread) - those representations are welcomed. Are they 'diversity cookies' too?

Seriously wtf is up with that phrase. The show acknowledges that people who are trans exist in the world. Ms Hudson has her own story which isn't central to the plot. It's not a 'very special gender identity episode' - and because of that it's 'diversity cookies'. It's not y'know, somehow the way things should be done? Showing examples of the diversity of the world just AS?

Was there some other way to make Ms. Hudson visible? There probably is. Was it a way that could be immediate to broad swathes of people? I'm not sure. Is there a better way to do that in the future? Probably.

But every time you mention 'scenes from Ms.Hudson's' pov - you're pushing her to the forefront to 'represent'. The show's not about her. She's NOT a pov character. Even the criminals on this show don't get a POV. So why do you keep exceptionalizing? Why do you keep tokenizing her? Why is it more of a big deal to you, that a big deal WASN'T made, that there wasn't a a huge spotlight, that she wasn't going to be essaying forth on trans issues but was instead within the story living her life? Why can you only accept it as a 'good' representation if she's walking around to your mind with a giant T on her chest, being given a pov moment to expound on only a very small part of who she is?

There was so much else going on; the ability to choose healthy relationships or not. The ability to be independent. The ability to make friends and have a safe place to go when things hit the fan. The complications of romance. Reflections on past decisions.

All of that. That's so much more about her than 'A pov instance about her transexuality'.

(no subject)

Fri, May. 24th, 2013 12:14 am (UTC)
crossedwires: toph punches katara to show her affection (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] crossedwires
Sorry, I think I did not explain myself well. I don't mean I want Ms Hudson to have one pov scene about her being a trans woman. I want her to have MANY pov scenes, where she gets to do stuff, from rearrange books to meeting love interests to deciding to be independent (and I'm not saying what we got isn't good, but I am questioning Holmes & Watson's conversation about Ms Hudson).

And I do want the show to be about her, as much as it is about Holmes, to make the show an ensemble that focuses equally on Watson, Bell, Ms Hudson, Alfredo and Holmes. I know that's not the show we have and I probably won't get that, but I would like the show to de-center off of Holmes -- is what I mean by wanting other characters to have POV scenes. Not just to react to people being oppressive towards them -- though I think that's also important to see, or at least has been for me, wrt sexism and racism.

The mere mention that she is, followed by her revealing she learned to build a fire in Boyscouts (something I missed, actually as being male central (I just heard 'Scouts'), until I read another review), has both an acknowledgement that she's trans and thus visibility and her revealing personal information about herself on her own terms.

She actually just says "merit badge", which I did not know until now was only a Boy Scouts thing.

Because so much about Elementary HAS been diverse; in terms of women in positions of power or traditionally male occupations, PoC in all sorts of areas; doctors to grounds keepers to background characters on the street (so many shows about NYC have it amazingly whitebread) - those representations are welcomed. Are they 'diversity cookies' too?

Kind of? I mean, maybe I could use a different phrase and I'm being too harsh on the show, especially when other shows are much worse about casting POC, but it just feels so Holmes-centric/white gazey to me, even with POC in background and secondary and non-stereotypical roles.

(no subject)

Wed, May. 22nd, 2013 10:51 pm (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] hebethen
Agreed on their conversation about Ms. Hudson, especially the sort of furtive way it was put forth all like "...did u notice.... hudson not normal woman........" I don't experience transmisogyny, but I do know those kinds of gendered-body policing comments, and that kind of waiting until she's gone to whisper about it is exactly what I was thinking about before with not saying oppressive shit out of only politeness.

(no subject)

Wed, May. 22nd, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
crossedwires: toph punches katara to show her affection (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] crossedwires
Yeah. And I think if the show had made a point about H&W being in the wrong there -- if we had gotten scenes from Ms Hudson's POV -- it would still be cissexist/transphobic, but at least, there'd be someone saying, 'Hey, that's wrong/don't do that'. (Not unlike how Joan points out sexism directed at her.)

(no subject)

Thu, May. 23rd, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
jiawen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jiawen
I'm trans, and though I haven't seen the whole series, I've seen the part where Ms. Hudson is introduced. It's better than most, but the comment on her having an adam's apple is totally annoying. Sherlock is supposed to be a master of detection and he uses the most stereotyped, overused, just-plain-inaccurate way of figuring out that she's trans? (Inaccurate? Yes -- many trans women don't have prominent adam's apples, and many cis women do. It's some kind of folk wisdom, not truth.) And yes, the whole "I know something you don't know" schtick is very bleh.

(no subject)

Fri, May. 24th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
jiawen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jiawen
It's got to be hard for a screenwriter, because they basically have to know everything with any vague criminological application to write Sherlock. But being downright offensive and lazy is... offensive and lazy.

(no subject)

Thu, May. 23rd, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] troisroyaumes
I am really enjoying that Joan is solving more and more of the cases!

The last two episodes were seriously my favorite out of this whole season. I have to take back what I said earlier about not being sure if Elementary really should be a Sherlock Holmes adaptation and say that this has probably been the best Sherlock Holmes adaptation (that isn't a straight up filming of the original stories, anyway) I've seen, on top of having successfully created a really interesting, compelling dynamic between the two protagonists in a detective show.

(no subject)

Fri, May. 24th, 2013 02:03 pm (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] troisroyaumes
Well, as a show on its own merits, it's quite excellent, but on a purely shallow book!canon fan level, I wanted a lot more clever references thrown in the cases. And at the beginning, while there were some loose connections one could draw, it felt like the show was sort of going in its own direction. Which is fine! But that also made me feel that it would have been better for the show to not be constricted by the Sherlock Holmes framework at all so that it could go even further. Actually, I couldn't quite articulate what I was feeling until I read some of [personal profile] crossedwires' commentary, and I think part of it was that if it was this divorced from book!canon already then it would be a much stronger show if it abandoned the need to make a show focusing on Sherlock Holmes altogether, but because it was nominally constrained to be a show about Sherlock, its form as a Sherlock Holmes adaptation was holding it back.

And I think I still think that to a certain extent--that the fact that it's supposed to be a Sherlock Holmes adaptation is preventing the writers from really taking off and pushing this show in a new direction (to be more of an ensemble show, for example, or exploring more of the backstories for characters with no definite roots in book!canon, like Detective Bell and Alfredo)--but returning to the other side of the equation, the last few episodes were not only full of references to book!canon (I don't just mean the stories with Moriarty; there were a lot of deliberate allusions to several different Holmes stories), but also really commented on book!canon and reworked it in an fascinating way. I mean, obviously the Irene-as-Moriarty twist, which, sure, has problematic elements, but still feels really brilliant to me as a twist on canon, but also just the whole Watson being an independent investigator in her own right, Holmes depending on her key deductions, the reengineering of the final confrontation with Moriarty, etc. (Watson planning with Holmes to have him fake an overdose >>> Holmes pretending to die and keeping Watson out of the loop so he can spend several years bringing down Moriarty's network on his own, no?) The show's been building up to that for a while (I was really stoked when he invited Watson to be a partner and started training her in his techniques) but I think they really saved up a lot of the impact for the last two episodes, which really, really pleased me on a fan geekery level.

tl;dr: I was mostly enjoying Elementary on an original fiction level, but felt wistful about wanting to enjoy it as a fanfiction too. And the last two episodes really, really worked for me on a fanfictional level.

(no subject)

Fri, May. 24th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] troisroyaumes
Also, I kind of want season 2 to be about epic Joan vs. Moriarty battle of wits showdown...

(no subject)

Thu, May. 23rd, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
jiawen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jiawen
I'm still kind of on the fence about Elementary. If Ms. Hudson is consistently portrayed well (and I'm not convinced she is -- see my comment above), it'd almost be worth it just for that. I was pretty annoyed with the deprotagonization of Irene Adler (what adaptations of Holmes have actually kept her competent and given her agency?), but I've spoiled myself about the season finale and I understand that it isn't as bad as it seemed to be. Hmm, I may have to watch the series when it comes out on DVD.
Edited Thu, May. 23rd, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Fri, May. 24th, 2013 01:26 pm (UTC)
jiawen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jiawen
Joan is a great character, yes! And I always appreciate opportunities for Luci Liu to use her Mandarin onscreen.

Maybe deprotagonization isn't the right word (sorry, thinking in RPG terms)... I've only read the first story in which Adler appears ("A Scandal in Bohemia"), but I don't think she was ever a protagonist, just a very well-matched antagonist with her own agency, desires and personality.

(no subject)

Wed, May. 29th, 2013 02:36 am (UTC)
natlyn: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] natlyn
FYI: "A Scandal in Bohemia" is the only canon appearance of Irene Adler.


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